Getting Creative In The Kitchen

Those that know me know I rarely follow recipes.  To me recipes are idea starters.  A place to go for inspiration.  Sometimes I’ll ditch the recipes altogether and just get creative in the kitchen.  It’s fun seeing what I can make with whatever we have on hand.

My oldest daughter is starting to take after my adventurous ways in the kitchen and this past weekend we got a chance to collaborate on a dish.  We had the perfect opportunity because my wife was working late and my youngest daughter was at a school dance.

We started knowing that we wanted to use some of the shrimp that we had in the freezer.  From there we could have gone in several directions but went with whole wheat spaghetti noodles.  While the spaghetti was cooking we got working on what we’d mix with it.

Since we’re garlic fans we sautéed 4 or 5 minced garlic cloves and a bunch of chopped green onions.  Next we added a half bag of fresh spinach and cooked it down.  After that the shrimp and a can of mushrooms were added to cook.

We stirred in a little olive oil and tasted our dish.  It needed a little something and my daughter suggested lemon juice.  I was skeptical because lemon juice isn’t one of my normal “go-to” additions when cooking… but I agreed.  I didn’t want to stifle her creativity.

It’s a good thing I didn’t.  The fresh squeezed lemon juice was a great addition.  She started out using just a little and ended up adding the juice from half a lemon.  Another taste called for just a little salt. Then it was time to mix it with the cooked spaghetti.

My daughter plated our food and we sat down to a fantastic meal!


I share our experience to encourage you to get creative in the kitchen.  See what you have and then see what you can make.

Not every dish you make will be a home run but if you use ingredients you like it’ll more than likely be edible.  If you’re lucky, you’ll come across some new ideas… just like I did with the lemon juice.

Have you ever made up a dish as you went along? How did it turn out?

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6 thoughts on “Getting Creative In The Kitchen”

  1. I cook for myself every evening and come up with some interesting combinations. This dish you described is a perfect example of what sounds really yummy to me!

      1. Just had a little brainstorm. I’m thinking about doing this with my teenage son. We’re doing more cooking as part of homeschool this year. I’d like to start a file (digital and/or hardcopy) to keep track of family favorites and new recipes we find or create ourselves.

        The photo you took is lovely! Just like looking at a cookbook. Those images could be kept for some or all recipes so by the end of the year, you’ll have your own records of culinary endeavors. With a digital copy you can share with friends and family. When kids leave home they have their own personalized cookbook to get themselves started.

        1. Great idea! They could also add notes as to what they learned from each cooking experience. Could be fractions working with measuring cups, the chemistry involved in some baking, time management, etc.

  2. Love your cooking story! Cooking is a great lifelong skill to learn for kids and adults alike. It’s never too early or too late to start. Whether you pursue cooking as a career or hobby, a homemade dish is appreciated by all who partake.

    For those who haven’t cooked much, being creative can be overwhelming. If you try a few recipes (or ask about ingredients when you eat out or with a friend), you’ll get an idea of what flavors work well for your personal taste buds. Baked goods need more precise amounts of ingredients, but so many other foods don’t have to be exact–like your delicious main dish.

    It’s fun to create tasty food that is “healthy” and economical too.

    I’ve been inspired to try lemon juice with our next pasta meal. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I appreciate your thoughts, Kathy. You’re right about having to be more precise when baking. My wife and daughter do the majority of our baking. I hope you enjoy using lemon. You’ll have to let me know how it works out.

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